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BARN AT NIGHT

Quiet and peaceful—an antidote to the daytime hustle and bustle of city life.

To anyone who imagines a barn is tranquil at night: Guess again.

This sweet story describes in gentle detail, especially for those unfamiliar with farm life, what really goes on in a barn during seemingly peaceful nighttime hours. A young farm child narrates in calming, lilting tercets, informing readers about the important chores that must be accomplished, predawn, even in the coldest weather, to ensure that all the animals are fed and well and lovingly cared for. It’s routine stuff that conscientious farmers must tend to every evening, but sometimes there are wonderful surprises: the birth of a new foal, for instance, who, upon arising on spindly, wobbly legs, helps the humans and fellow barn residents welcome a new day. City kids will pick up facts about what some barnyard animals eat and what a barn smells like. Adding to the cuteness factor, note that cats play a prominent role in a number of the soft, gentle, hazy color illustrations, set mostly inside the shadowy barn; sometimes, the felines seem to supervise the farm family’s activities. The narrator and adult farmer are painted with ruddy skin and straight hair (when it can be seen). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Quiet and peaceful—an antidote to the daytime hustle and bustle of city life. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-948898-05-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feeding Minds Press

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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THE WONKY DONKEY

Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 28, 2018

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MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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